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Test Results - (Journal Date: 2/23/05)

5/21/2005

Today there is high anxiety waiting for the test results from both the Bone Marrow Biopsy and the CT Scan. My oncologist greeted my wife and I with "more than usual" enthusiasm as he delivered the initial good news that the Bone Marrow Biopsy was negative!! In other words, the disease had not spread there. Also, the CT Scan showed that most of my body's lymph nodes were clear. However, there were two (2) possible small spots in the abdomen area, but the scan was not conclusive. Finally, my lymphoma was not appearing or perhaps behaving like a typical case. The unusual appearance (of something) needed further study to check for the possibility of "Mantel Cell Lymphoma." This additional testing would be conducted at the Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center since they are affiliated with HPRHS and located less than 25 miles away. At the time, the news and test results seemed very good, so we drove over to the office and shared it with my co-workers.

The engineer in me then turned to the internet to research and discover what I could about this new type of lymphoma called Mantel Cell. BIG MISTAKE!!! One has to be very careful of the information out there. I recommend that folks stay with the internet sites endorsed by the American Cancer Society, the National Cancer Institute, etc. Unfortunately, I ended up reading some pretty discouraging information. I also visited a chat room and read about 12 months of information about patients that had been through so many unpleasant experiences with their chemotherapy, that they were wishing that they had never taken treatment. What a roller-coaster of emotions!! We left the office completely depressed and distraught.

I suggest to others that it is fine to do research from reputable information. I firmly believe that informed patients participate more effectively in their health care decisions. But patients only need to be familiar with a basic knowledge of terms and their disease and let the doctors who have spent their careers on this ever changing field be the experts.

Further, don't compare yourself to others. Even if you have the same disease and other similarities of another patient, you do not know all the details of their situation. I resolved myself to the fact that no matter what type of cancer you have, you are an individual case. Your individual situation and positive attitude have so much more to do with your response to treatment than anyone else you can compare with.

I have found it extremely helpful to cling to positive accounts and testimonies of patients that have survived cancer before me. There are tons of examples of survivors to inspire you. I always get strength listening to others describe their direct or indirect experiences with cancer survivors. It is incredible how many lives this disease has touched. Take these stories to heart and be inspired by them. Cancer patients can stand on the shoulders of those that have been treated before us and we will share with those treated after us so that they may go even further. That is the main reason that I got involved with this Web Log (Blog).

In spite of the information overload, we chose to keep the faith and we scheduled our appointments with the specialist for February 28, 2005. By now, I was placed on several prayer lists and because our Lord is in the healing business, we prayed heavily for some good news. Cards were coming in from all over, so I converted an empty shoe box to a "box of inspiration" and it is a good thing that I have big feet!!

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